Non-Fiction November 2022 – Week 1

Non-Fiction November 2022

Week 1: (Oct 31-Nov 4) – Your Year in Nonfiction : Take a look back at your year of nonfiction and reflect on the following questions – What was your favourite nonfiction read of the year? Do you have a particular topic you’ve been attracted to more this year? What nonfiction book have you recommended the most? What are you hoping to get out of participating in Nonfiction November? (hosted by Katie)

My Year in Non-Fiction

This past year I have read and reviewed 24 non-fiction titles. I was thinking it was a bit of a slow non-fiction year until I pulled some numbers from previous NonFicNov posts: (2021 – 25) (2020 – 13) (2019 – 32) (2018 – 14) (2017 – 12) (2015 – 17) (2014 – 13)

Turns out that 2022 was right bang in the middle of an average year of non-fiction for me!

I’m still reading six non-fiction titles atm (a grief & loss memoir, a history book on Ukraine, art essays, another perimenopause book, a collection of Margaret Atwood’s essays and a literary companion). Two of them should be finished and reviewed by the end of the month (I hope!)

Memoir: 9

Biography: 5

Essays: 3

Photo Essay: 1

History: 5

Medical/Health: 1

My Favourite Non-Fiction Reads

  • Eve and The Pea Pickers
  • Leaping into Waterfalls
  • Chernobyl Prayer

But the non-fiction book I’ve recommended the most this year is A Short History of Russia: From the Pagans to Putin. I popped it onto our STAFF FAVOURITES shelf at work. Every Monday I have to reorder it after almost selling out each weekend. I haven’t sold a non-fiction book at work like this since Square Haunting by Francesca Wade.

My 2022 Non-Fiction Topics

In some ways there were no surprises here.

I have always loved a good bio/memoir, and I’ve been an amateur history buff all my life. The war in Ukraine has reignited my fascination with Russian history. I have now widened the net, though, to include specific books about Ukraine, while the issues of grief and loss dominate my choice of memoirs.

I was pleased to see how many of my non-fiction reads were by Australian authors.

But I was disappointed to see no science/environment books in the mix this year. H is for Hawk was as close as I got, but really, even that was all about the grief and loss.

My Non-Fiction Hopes

  • To find some new nature/environment books to spark my interest (I’ve just added Annie Proulx’s Fen Bog & Swamp to my TBR after reading this) to give you an idea of what I lean towards.
  • Book recommendations about the history of Russia and Ukraine (new to the pile is Russia: Myths and Legends by Rodric Braithwaite). Also happy for fiction recommendations around this topic.
  • More oral history books à la Svetlana Alexievich.
  • Your favourite recommendations for grief and loss memoirs.

Happy Non-Fiction in November!

  • This post was written on the traditional land of the Wangal clan, one of the 29 clans of the Eora Nation within the Sydney basin. This Reading Life acknowledges that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are this land’s first storytellers.

26 thoughts on “Non-Fiction November 2022 – Week 1

  1. Impressive, Bronwen, I salute you for achieving all this – and what a range, from biography to memoir, health to history and more! I seem to have limited my nonfiction to reading the news and just two titles this year, one consisting essays on the Mabinogion and the other about stage designs from the Italian Renaissance to the later 17th century. Just write “Must do better” on my report card..m

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      1. It’s the 1989 Sirius edition with an Intro by L thwaite and I will post it to you when I’ve read it.
        Your part in this arrangement is to remind me when you read my (eventual) review!

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  2. Leaping into Waterfalls ….this is going to be one of my selections for o “week 5 post, New to My TBR”. Australian authors for NF are hidden gems to many readers who concentrate on UK, USA reading lists! One on my favourite science/environment books was by Australian science writer/journalist Jo Chandler. Her book “Feeling the Heat” is an excellent NF reading choice.
    I haven’t divided my NF list in genres….but will do that today. Curious on what my reading was concentrated on.

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    1. Both Leaping and the Eve Langley bio’s went into such fascinating detail about the writer’s lives as well as discussing what was going on in their lives as they were writing. I love finding out the inspirations and influences that make their way into stories.

      I’ll pop by to see what you discovered about genres… 🙂

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    1. It was Vesper Flights and my utter enjoyment of every essay that finally convinced me to pick up Hawk, and yes I preferred the essays too.

      I’d be keen to try another Solnit, wasn’t 100% convinced that her style suited me, but Wanderlust is somewhere on my TBR too….

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  3. Impressive reading within different genres. I have read a lot about Russian history which is a fascinating topic. I mostly hang on to history, but will try to venture outside my comfort zone with some other subjects.

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  4. I’ve added Short History of Russia to my TBR as well as the diary written on the bus in Paris. I read an amazing book by Svetlana Alexievich a long time ago called Voices from Chernobyl; I am guessing that this is the same book, with a different title.

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    1. That’s correct – it was the original title. The book was revised in 2013 by Alexievich then a new translation came out in 2016 based on this.

      Hope you enjoy short history of Russia as much as I did.

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  5. I have no overlap with your beautiful nonfiction reading this year and I find myself wanting to read many of the books on your list. I have added Secrets of Women’s Healthy Aging to my list. American medicine is ridiculous in this regard – once you stop / indicate that you won’t be having children they ignore you. I love the idea of reading something that has been going on for this long. Enjoy NFN!

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